THE MAKING OF A WRITER by Joan Lowery Nixon


Age Range: 10 - 12
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Veteran author Nixon (Gus and Gertie and the Missing Pearls, 2001, etc.) offers a lighthearted biography, with each chapter connected to something she’s loved or learned about writing. She grew up in Los Angeles in a duplex occupied by her grandparents as well as her own parents and siblings, and evokes an idyllic childhood. She loved words from a very early age, recounting her mother’s story that before she could even read or write, she would come to her mother and say, “I have a poem, Mama. Write it down.” She loved hearing family stories and radio dramas, learning pacing and dialogue, and did puppet shows for neighborhood children using her mother’s scripts and the portable stage built by her father. In high school in the ’40s, she and her friends wrote many letters to servicemen in the war, most of them barely older than she was. She tells, with exquisite timing, how she got her first payment for something she wrote, and how it felt. Young readers (and would-be writers) might be most interested in the last chapter, her Top Ten Tips for Writers, which includes such basic advice as “Read!”; “Show, don’t tell”; and “Trust your characters.” It’s a bit preachy in spots, and even her large fan base might not be completely engaged, but it is a nicely focused take on something about the author. (Biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 14th, 2002
ISBN: 0-385-73000-4
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2002


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